Skip to comments.The Boy Who Played With Fusion
Posted on 02/21/2012 9:07:37 AM PST by justlurking
Propulsion, the nine-year-old says as he leads his dad through the gates of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. I just want to see the propulsion stuff.
A young woman guides their group toward a full-scale replica of the massive Saturn V rocket that brought America to the moon. As they duck under the exhaust nozzles, Kenneth Wilson glances at his awestruck boy and feels his burden beginning to lighten. For a few minutes, at least, someone else will feed his sons boundless appetite for knowledge.
Then Taylor raises his hand, not with a question but an answer. He knows what makes this thing, the biggest rocket ever launched, go up. And he wantsno, he obviously needsto tell everyone about it, about how speed relates to exhaust velocity and dynamic mass, about payload ratios, about the pros and cons of liquid versus solid fuel. The tour guide takes a step back, yielding the floor to this slender kid with a deep-Arkansas drawl, pouring out a torrent of Ph.D.-level concepts as if there might not be enough seconds in the day to blurt it all out. The other adults take a step back too, perhaps jolted off balance by the incongruities of age and audacity, intelligence and exuberance.
This is before Taylor would transform the familys garage into a mysterious, glow-in-the-dark cache of rocks and metals and liquids with unimaginable powers. Before he would conceive, in a series of unlikely epiphanies, new ways to use neutrons to confront some of the biggest challenges of our time: cancer and nuclear terrorism. Before he would build a reactor that could hurl atoms together in a 500-million-degree plasma corebecoming, at 14, the youngest individual on Earth to achieve nuclear fusion.
(Excerpt) Read more at popsci.com ...
Google "the radioactive boy scout"
All through school, from elementary to high school, I kept getting in trouble for having a science fiction novel hidden in my notebook which I read during class. I loved the “hard” SF where the science was accurate.
When Ronaldus Magnus gave his Star Wars speech in 1983, I was the new engineer in my department at a huge aerospace company. The Boss asked in despair, “Does anyone here understand space weapons like lasers, particle beams, and railguns?”
I spoke up, “Sure, I know all about space weapons.” Six months later I won our first contract sole source. We flew the first SDI experiment on the Space Shuttle in 1984. It was my idea.
Awesome< I’ll continue to expose my boy to as much science and high tech as I can. And teach him mechanics if he ever shows an interest.
Buy a car in a bucket and tell him it's his if he can put it back together.
Motivation is everything
If he does well in school, I’ll give him my 71 Duster. He’ll be the only kid with a real muscle car. It used to scare him when I took him for rides(408 engine). Now at 10 years old he likes it when I goose it!
Will read later. When my son was in pre-school he had all sorts of dinosaur models, and knew all the names and ages. The teacher said he was the go-to kid for dinosaur info.
At the zoo one time, about 7 years old I suppose, we were at the Komodo Dragon exhibit and he started talking ALL about them, to the amazement of us and the strangers that had gathered.
He’s still a bright kid - but nothing like this kid! Of course, I don’t have to worry about coming home to a Black Hole either!
You sure that wasn't part of your plantation fantasy, with a happy slave plowing your cotton field behind it?
“He has a hard time focusing on what is being taught.”
Look into getting your son into a program for gifted students; lots of towns have them these days.
Being held back by the class numbskulls, he’s probably bored sh*tless where he is, and this boredom, if not rectified, could impede his growth and put a big dent in his prospects for success. I’ve seen it happen many times.
I think this is the article you freepmailed me about.
Loved this article! Thanks for posting it.
The inventor of the Fusor, which the kid in this article replicated.
The Boy Who Invented Television:
A Story of Inspiration, Persistence
and Quiet Passion
by Paul Schatzkin
Jan. 30: Chris Capella looks upward as he walks beneath the newly renovated Saturn V moon rocket in Huntsville, Ala.
Pretty much yes.
That’s a great book. RCA ripped him off big time.
Way cool, darth!